Riley Panko April 9th, 2020

3 Ways to Combat Robocalls’ Influence on Your Businesses’ Phone Calls

This year, experts predict that about 60 - 75 billion robocalls will be placed to U.S. residents, up from 48 billion last year. 

Some robocallers are even taking advantage of the current coronavirus pandemic and spamming callers with misinformation. This erodes customers’ already waning confidence in business calls.

Businesses wanting to speak to customers by phone must find ways to combat the adverse effects of robocalls, so people will engage with them over the phone.

Research by Clutch, a B2B research firm, shows that 79% of people are uncomfortable providing personal information over the phone to any number, not just a robocall.

Robocalls are making people distrust the phone as a legitimate communication channel.

Phone calls provide a human touch that helps businesses build relationships with their customers, though. Voice conversations can deliver a level of accuracy and speed that other channels can’t achieve.

As the U.S. government takes active measures to prevent robocall scams, businesses should continue taking steps to combat the effects of robocalls.

In this article, we show you three steps businesses can take to encourage customers to speak with them on the phone.

Use the information in this article to combat the negative influence of robocalls and get your customers to pick up the phone and engage in conversation.

Why Customers Don’t Answer When You Call

Nearly 5 billion robocalls were placed in the U.S. alone during the month of April 2019.

Scammers try to trick people into giving away personal information, and some robocalls go so far as to threaten people with phrases such as “you’ll be taken into custody by the local cops.”

Robocalls increasingly dominate people’s phones and have left many unwilling to answer calls from anyone other than their closest friends. This leaves businesses that rely on the phone to communicate with customers in a lurch.

More than one-fourth of people can’t distinguish between robocalls and real callers at the beginning of a call, according to Clutch, increasing the likelihood of people ignoring your business calls.

The FCC recently announced steps to block robocalls, but businesses should be aware that these steps won’t entirely solve their problems.

It’s not clear if the anti-robocall will stop international callers, plus the smart scammers will find workarounds, according to CBS correspondent Nick Thompson.

Robocall scammers “threaten the way consumers view and use their telephones” and “are undermining our entire phone system,” according to Rep. Frank Pallone during a July hearing that approved the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act

Despite the challenges, there are steps businesses can take to greatly increase the chances of their phone calls getting answered.

1. Confirm Your Identity

Test your business outgoing calls using the business phone system to ensure your caller ID is showing up correctly. Your caller ID should show the name of your business, not a sequence of numbers, so customers can immediately recognize you.

Take care not to place calls from personal phones or alternative business numbers that show up as something other than your primary caller ID.

Vanity numbers, such as 1-800-FLOWERS, make it easier for customers to recognize your call and remember your phone number. 

Vanity numbers may be an excellent option for businesses that make frequent phone calls because they increase the likelihood of people picking up the phone.

Businesses should confirm their identity by ensuring their caller ID shows properly, and consider obtaining a vanity number to help customers recognize who’s calling.

2. Send a Text Before Calling

Sending a text before placing a phone call is another great way to let customers know that your incoming call is authentic. 

A well-timed text notifies customers of your identity and increases the likelihood that they’ll accept your call.

Nearly one-fourth of people (26%) aren’t sure whether they can distinguish a robocall from a real human when they answer the phone. Sending a text assures customers that your call is genuine.

3. Remain Open to Alternate Communication Channels

Phone conversations aren't the only option for voice conversations that help you build a personal connection with customers.

Apple’s Facetime, Facebook video calls, and Skype-like digital apps allow you to place video calls and have face-to-face conversations with people.

If customers request that you contact them using a video calling app, or another alternative service, be flexible to their new ideas and consider giving it a try.

You can take a proactive approach to alternate communication channels by polling your customers to learn what tools they use for conversation.

Build Trust Over Time

When customers do answer your phone calls, takes steps to continue building the trust needed to get your phone calls answered in the future.

  • Immediately let the customer know who you are and why you’re calling. 
  • Avoid using the phone for sales calls and, instead, send promotional messages by email or physical mail.
  • Don’t ask for personal information, such as credit card numbers, by phone.
  • Avoid automated phone communication and use services such as a virtual assistant to ensure you have the proper resources to engage with all phone calls.

Providing customers with a sense of security during your phone calls helps ensure their willingness to speak with you again in the future.

Robocalls Affect the Way Businesses Communicate

Robocalls impact the way most businesses are able to communicate with customers in 2019.

Implementing the suggestions outlined in this article can help get your calls answered so you can continue building friendly and trusting business relationships.

Creator: Riley Panko - Senior Content Developer and Marketer at Clutch, a B2B research firm, and a Senior Writer at The Manifest, a B2B news and how-to site.

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

Riley Panko

She conducts relevant research that aims to help consumers enhance their business and select the services and software best-suited to their needs.

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